Governor races

Governor races

Democrats complain about Ohio GOP-Fox News connection

The Democratic Governors Association on Thursday filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission, alleging Fox News gave an in-kind contribution to Ohio Republican John Kasich.

"There is reason to believe that FOX News Network, L.L.C. violated Ohio election law on August 18, 2010 when John Kasich appeared on a network program, solicited contributions for his campaign and FOX added the graphics 'John Kasich (R),' under Mr. Kasich's image," the complaint states.

"The Republican Governors Association is actively engaged in working to elect John Kasich in Ohio. It appears that News America, Inc. and FOX News Network, L.L.C. are pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to support and elect Republican candidates."

Kasich is challenging Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

The committee called on the commission to investigate.

In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that News Corp., which owns Fox News, gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association in June.


Trouble continues for Colorado Republican

Republican Dan Maes, who is running for governor in Colorado, lost an influential endorsement after the Denver Post questioned his claims that he worked as an "undercover" police officer 25 years ago.

Former Sen. Hank Brown (R-Colo.) had backed Maes but said on Wednesday he was withdrawing his support.

"I'm concerned about the revelations. I'm withdrawing my endorsement," Brown told the paper. "I'm beginning to find that [Maes’] explanations are not adequate."

Maes was already facing a threat to his right flank from Tom Tancredo. The former Republican congressman asked Maes to withdraw over his campaign finance violations, and when he refused, Tancredo entered the race as a third-party candidate.

According to the Post, the Maes website biography stated: "At one point in my 2 years there I was place (sic) undercover by the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (sic) to gather information inside a bookmaking ring that was also allegedly selling drugs. I got too close to some significant people in the community who were involved in these activities and abruptly was dismissed from my position. ... I was blindsided and stunned to say the least."

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, however, said it has no record of Maes working with the agency during his service as a police officer from 1983 to 1985. The chief of police in Liberal, Kan., where Maes worked as a cop, did not remember his department ever being involved in the investigation Maes described in his biography. 

"Some people are probably taking that a little too literally," Maes said. "I was a city police officer providing information to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation."

But Maes admitted that he may have made some "incorrect comments."

Referring to his website biography, he said, "Whoever typed it, typed it. That's all I've got to say."

But Maes spokesman Nate Strauch later confirmed that Maes had written the comments.

Maes is up against Tancredo and Democrat John Hickenlooper in November. 


Ex-Rep. Deal faces scrutiny over tax returns

Georgia Republican Nathan Deal's tax returns are again causing problems for the former lawmaker.

Deal's gubernatorial campaign has for the last two weeks been promising reporters he'll release his past tax returns. But a spokesman admitted on Friday he didn't file a 2009 return and instead sought an extension.

Democrat Roy Barnes, Deal's opponent, has released 25 years of tax returns.

Because of Deal's past tax returns, the Office of Congressional Ethics in March found that he had improperly described income from his family’s salvage business. He classified the $75,000 he received from Recovery Services Inc. as dividends in his congressional filings, when in fact he reported the money as wages on his 2008 tax return. That amount exceeded the House rule on outside income — the Republican retired on March 21, before the House ethics committee could take further action against him.  

"We'll release them," Brian Robinson, a Deal spokesman, told the Savannah Morning News about the 2009 returns. "You'll know when we make the decision."

When contacted by The Ballot Box, a spokeswoman for Deal said it would happen soon.


Huckabee denies accusation that he tried to 'sell' endorsement

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is denying an accusation from a Florida blogger who wrote over the weekend that Huckabee offered his endorsement to Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott for $250,000. 

The blogger said the information came from a source inside the Scott campaign, and claimed the candidate rejected the offer.

Scott, who is largely self-funding his campaign, is locked in a tight primary with Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum (R). Huckabee has publicly backed McCollum, and headlined a rally with him ahead of Tuesday's primary.

HuckPAC responded forcefully Monday, calling the claim an outright lie and denying any contact between Huckabee and Scott. 

"Governor Mike Huckabee has never had a conversation with Rick Scott or anyone on his staff about such matters," HuckPAC's Hogan Gidley said in a statement Monday. "In fact, at the time the Scott campaign claims this was being discussed, Governor Huckabee had already early voted for Bill McCollum." 

"This lie from a mysterious source within the Rick Scott campaign shows how dishonest and desperate his campaign is," Gidley continued. "If Rick Scott made this claim, he needs to publicly and immediately admit this is total lie — and if he didn’t say it, he needs to fire whichever member of his campaign staff said it."

Ahead of Tuesday's primary, polls in the state show the McCollum-Scott race is too close to call. 


White House makes another Ohio stop

For the second time in five days, the administration will be lending a helping hand to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden will be in Toledo to visit the Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex, and he's scheduled to be joined by Strickland. Biden will also host a fundraiser for the governor.

President Obama was in Ohio Wednesday to raise funds for Strickland, who endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential race.

But the Democratic governor is trailing Republican candidate John Kasich in the polls, and his victory is important to the White House for two reasons: the redistricting process and the 2012 presidential race. Ohio could lose two House seats after the Census is complete, and it's a bellwether state in a presidential year.

Biden held fundraisers for Strickland in January and March of this year. Former President Clinton has also raised funds for the governor.


Veterans group praises Connecticut Republican's controversial Iraq service

A pro-military group that typically supports Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans running for office is promoting a civilian gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut.

Iraq Veterans For Congress on Monday expressed "deep appreciation" for Republican Tom Foley's service in Iraq and encouraged supporters to consider voting for him. 

Foley was the Bush administration's director of private sector development in Iraq from 2003-04. Critics charge he was responsible for the hurried privatization of Iraq's state-owned businesses, which resulted in thousands of layoffs. By adding more unemployed men to the ranks of those disaffected by the American occupation, the measures may have helped fuel the insurgency.

Foley has talked up the daunting aspects of his time there. "Donning bullet proof vests, dodging rockets and mortars, and avoiding IED's became regular parts of the routine," according to his website biography. 

And that's apparently what got the attention of IVC.

"I don't know any other Harvard grads in their fifties with no military experience who left comfortable executive positions to answer the call when the country needed them to serve in a ferocious combat zone," Kieran Michael Lalor, the group's founder, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. "Foley spent a year in country laying the foundation for economic growth by helping Iraqi entrepreneurs and small merchants build and expand their businesses."

Foley, who later served as ambassador to Ireland, faces Democrat Dan Malloy in November.


Whitman adds $13 million to coffers, approaches record spending

California billionaire Meg Whitman (R) has dropped another $13 million into her campaign for governor. 

The contribution brings the former eBay CEO's investment in her bid to $104 million, the Sacramento Bee reported. Her personal spending is approaching the record set by fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg in 2009.

The New York City mayor spent some $108 million in winning a third term last year.

Whitman's camp said the money was needed to "fight" Democrat Jerry Brown's "attacks."

"Meg is investing the necessary resources to fight the $13 million in attacks Jerry Brown Inc. has launched to defend the status quo in Sacramento," Sarah Pompei, a spokeswoman for Whitman told KQED. "She will continue discussing her plans to create jobs with Californians across the state."

Brown had $23 million in the bank as of June 30. 

Meanwhile, Whitman was attacked for being part of a "job destruction duo" along with Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina by a top union official Friday.

"Some people see public employees as an island of privilege," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a speech in Los Angeles. "The truth is you're the foundation of decent standards; you're the only ones standing in the way of a Republican-driven, all-out race to the bottom."